Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The "Real Life" versus "Online" Dichotomy

Think about this: I have an autoimmune disease. I can't touch or feel folks during certain times of the year, because I can get very sick from germs that they are carrying. I'm home bound for months at a time from various health problems. For example, a year ago I spent 4 months inside due to a upper respiratory infection that just wouldn't go away. Are my relationships less real, just because I don't/can't feel or touch the folks I love? In fact, it's the opposite. Those who care about me stay away from where I can feel or touch them, because they don't want me to get sick(er) during those periods.

I was raised before the Internet was widely used. When it did become popular, skeptics and Luddites would criticize or downplay its significance by creating this on-line/real life dichotomy. Perhaps at one time it might have seemed like a legitimate construct to non-disabled folks. However, it's absolutely useless now.

People can be connected to others even MORE than in the past, because of the Internet. If the only time I was able to spend with someone was when we were able to meet in person, then it would take much longer to develop the relationship. When I can talk to them all day long (on my PC or laptop or cellphone), we can learn a lot more about each other in a shorter period of time.

I'm saying all of this to give folks a few ideas they can consider. What if you decided to stop boxing people into "real life" or "online" categories? What if you accepted that all of these relationships are equally legitimate? You might find out that the lack of certain kinds of folks around your physical body starts to matter a lot less.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Someone should have told Ellen Sturtz what happens when you show your ass in public.


This amused me to no end. I guess things didn't go as planned for that white privileged heckler who tried to silence her. This heifer had the nerve to later say that she was "taken aback" because after screaming and ranting at her, our First Lady actually approached her and spoke directly to her. I am astounded by the audacity of this woman to expect to be allowed to take over the event that people had paid to attend.

This was at a private event in a private home, where Sturtz was a guest. Now, I know that we take courtesy and the rules of hospitality to a level that Northerners might not understand. However, I have to believe that even in Kalorama, Washington behaving like that when you're a guest in some one's home is just unacceptable. I would have been mortified if someone that I allowed into my home began ranting and screaming at another invited guest. Sturtz is quite lucky that she was only escorted out of the event. I tell my child, "If you show the world your underpants, you shouldn't be surprised if you get kicked in your arse." In other words, if you blatantly disrespect people, there's a very good chance that things might not go well for you in the end.

To top it off, in a later interview, Sturtz said, "I was surprised by how negative the crowd seemed to be. It was actually a little unsettling and disturbing". Well, now doesn't that just take the cake?! She was disturbed and unsettled by negativity from the other guests. These people just watched Sturtz ranting and screaming at our First Lady Michelle Obama and they are the ones being disturbing and negative? I don't think I've seen that kind of projection since I went to a drive-in movie at the end of the last millennium!

Michelle isn't the President! She's not even a politician at all! And even if she was the President, she still couldn't fix what Sturtz wants. Sturtz could have gone to the white guys in Congress who are really withholding her rights. Instead she attacked a woman, because she's mad that the woman's husband won't do her bidding. Even if someone doesn't believe that white privilege played a role here, there's no denying that this was a seriously patriarchal and anti-feminist thing to do. Where was she when Laura Bush was the First Lady and lesbians had even fewer rights than they have now? Why is it she didn't get mad and make this demand until President Obama got into office and Michelle Obama became our First Lady?

Folks like Sturtz and the organization she stands for (GetEqual) make it quite evident why so many People of Color LGBTQIA folks want nothing to do with these white-dominated, white-privileged groups and their pet projects like the so-called "marriage equality". It makes it plain why so many Women of Color want nothing to do with these women like Sturtz who show that they do not have our best interests in mind nor do they even have the respect for us that they demand to be shown.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Black Drag Queens Who Kept My Brother Safe

I was on Tumblr today and I saw a post on some one's site that made me nostalgic. It was about drag queens who saved a 16 year old gay boy from being raped by a man who had drugged him. It really touched my heart and made me think about something from my childhood. I wrote the message below and then re-blogged it on my site. I decided to share it here, because I don't have all of the same followers on both blogspot and tumblr.

We grew up in New Orleans. When my brother was barely a teen, he was already a professional jazz musician who had traveled overseas a couple of times. He was much too young to play in the jazz clubs out here, but those laws weren't really enforced. He got the opportunity to play a weekly (nighttime) gig at a well-known spot. He would be paid in cash and he could refine his skills and built a reputation.

My mom didn't like it, but this was his career and a rare opportunity. At night he'd have to get dropped off at the club on the edge of the Vieux Carré (the French Quarter). He'd finish the gig and get off from work at around 3 or 4 O'clock in the morning. It would have been impossibly dangerous for a young kid to be standing in the dark, outside of a club, in the wee hours of the morning, holding expensive instruments, with a pocket full of cash. That was almost a deal breaker.

However, the situation was resolved when he was "adopted" by the Black drag queens who frequented a club two doors down. They'd wait with him out there until someone arrived to pick him up and then they'd face those same dangerous streets by themselves as they left to go home. This went on all the way until my brother stopped playing there, which was several years later. By then he was a muscular 6'3" guy who able to look out for the queens and make sure that no one bothered them.

My brother is an adult jazz musician now and he has played on stages with Nina Simone, Wynton Marsalis, Doc Cheatum, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Harrison, and many, many other artist whose names most folks would recognize. But it all started with that one weekly gig that was all made possible for him, because of the kindness and protectiveness and goodness of heart of a bunch of Black drag queens in one of the most dangerous parts of town.